Howard African Business Conference 2009
Howard University African Students’ Association will be hosting an African Business Conference from February 29 to March 1, 2008. The primary aim of the conference is to highlight business and career opportunities in African countries. This aim will be achieved by featuring speakers on various panel sessions; the speakers, who will be selected from various corporate bodies and academia, will have the knowledge and expertise to educate and enlighten the conference participants on the business landscape in Africa. The target audience is primarily African students studying in U.S colleges, and also young professionals interested in opportunities in African countries. An estimated audience of about 400 individuals is expected. The conference will serve as means for disseminating information on opportunities in African countries to college students, graduates and business professionals interested in pursuing such opportunities in Africa.
The conference will take place on February 27 and February 28, 2009 on the Howard University campus in Washington, DC. The schedule of programs is as follows:
Friday, February 27
Arrivals – (All Morning)
Speakers and panelists’ arrival and check- in to respective hotels.
Early Registration – (12:00 noon to 5:00 pm)
Registration will commence on the first day with conference participants being treated to light refreshments as well as an exhibition of various places of interest in Africa. Conference participants will also pick up conference materials at the registration site.
“The Howard Legacy in African Development” – An exposé by Howard University School of Business – (1:00pm to 3:00pm)
An exposé will be given on the lasting legacy and impact of Howard University on the African continent, with a special focus on her leadership and business development. This session will be handled in conjunction with the Howard University Moorland Spingarn Research Center and the Howard University School of Business, and will also include an optional overview of the Howard MBA program and a tour of the Howard University School of Business for interested participants.
HUABC Sponsors, Guest Speakers and Planning Committee Networking Gala – (7:30pm to 10.00 pm)
This will be a special welcome gala night for stakeholders of the conference (sponsors, speakers and planning team) to meet and network in a relaxed setting. The gala will feature dinner and entertainment, and a guest speaker. The event will also serve as a good opportunity for planning team to answer any questions from the guests, and for speakers to familiarize themselves with fellow panelists prior to conference. This event will take place at the hotel where our guests will be lodged for the weekend.
Saturday, February 28
Registration / Breakfast – (8:00am to 9:15am)
Opening/Keynote Address – (9:30am to 10:20am)
An opening event with an address from the Dean of the Howard University School of Business will officially introduce and commence the day’s activities. The Dean will usher in the keynote speaker-a notable, highly successful and illustrious business or public sector leader in Africa-to deliver the opening keynote address for the conference
Panel Session 1 – (10:30am to 11:45am)
Panel 1: Venture Capital and Private Equity: Economic Development through the African Enterprise
In recent years, the African business landscape has evolved tremendously, at a pace unrivalled by other regions in the world. Investors from all over the globe have embraced the continent as a fertile ground for the most attractive returns on investment, indeed confirming the fact of Africa being the “next frontier” in global investment. As a result, the continent has experienced a remarkable and unprecedented growth in the Venture Capital and Private Equity markets in recent years, taking advantage of the numerous investment opportunities on the continent. How successful has the Venture Capital and Private Equity industry been in financing the growth of successful African enterprises? Can investors further expose Africa’s untapped business potential and better underscore the role of Private Equity in economic development? This panel seeks to answer these questions as well as further analyze the role, specific successes, challenges, and the future of Venture Capital and Private Equity operations in Africa.
Panel 2: Infrastructural Development in the African Power Sector
Africa’s power sector has been plagued for decades by the dearth of solid generation and distribution infrastructure to support the high and ever-growing demand for electricity on the continent. The inadequacy of power supply is cited as the predominant clog in the wheel of business development in Africa, especially for small-scale ventures. Seeing that the role of solid infrastructural framework in such a critical sector cannot be overemphasized, this panel will highlight recent strides and successes that have been made by key players in power infrastructural development throughout the continent, with a particular focus on key projects that have been executed, as well those being implemented or under consideration. This panel will also highlight the challenges faced by these infrastructural giants as they strive to “light-up” the continent, as well as evaluate the role of governments in this effort. Through this panel, we will develop a clearer picture of the status of Africa’s power sector from an infrastructural perspective, identify strategies to upgrade and modernize the infrastructure, and also address the need to promote a regional and sub regional power industry approach.
Panel Session 2 – (12:00noon to 1:15pm)
Panel 3: Entrepreneurship: Success Stories in a World of Potential
This panel will feature panelists with vast experience in starting entrepreneurial ventures in African countries. The panel will feature successful African entrepreneurs from a wide variety of industries sharing from their unique experiences what it takes to identify a passion or opportunity out of the plethora that are existent on the continent, surmount any barriers, and build a successful business around it. The panel will also discuss the role of financing and governmental bodies in facilitating entrepreneurial ventures.
Panel 4: Analyzing the Growth of Capital Markets in Africa
The investment horizon in Africa is one that has drawn a lot of global attention in that past few years. In the year 2007, for instance, Nigeria’s market made average returns of over 30% and Zimbabwe’s returned over 100% this year even after adjusting for inflation [*Africa
Capital Markets Report ‘07]. The same can be said of other African countries such as South Africa, Kenya
and Ghana. This panel will feature individuals from both international and local investment firms to speak to viable investment vehicles within the rapidly growing capital markets in various African countries. The panel will also serve to raise awareness on the growing
investment activities in these financial markets and their growth over the past couple of years, as more enterprising Africans in the Diaspora explore the building of their equity back on the continent.
Light Lunch Break – (1:30pm to 2:00pm)
Panel Session 3 – (2:15pm to 3:00pm)
Panel 5: Oil and Gas: Exploring Growth Potentials in a Prime Industry
Controlling over 8% of the world’s proven oil reserves, Africa maintains a strategic position of interest on the global market for energy and raw materials. The industrial boom and phenomenal growth in 21st century emerging markets such as China and Singapore even further draw attention to the extremely pivotal position of the African continent in the supply of energy. What developmental strides have been made by foreign and indigenous companies towards the growth of the oil and gas business-one of West Africa’s most prominent industries? What further business growth potentials are yet to be explored? What role does the continent play in the exploration of alternative energy to maintain global competitive advantage? This panel seeks to examine all these issues from the perspective of different energy stakeholders (corporations, small scale ventures and researchers) in Africa’s booming oil and gas industry.
Panel 6: Social Investment: Commitment of Corporations and Enterprises to their host communities
Come join us as we explore the world of Corporate Social Responsibility, and hear from leading corporate CSR experts and executives about the “hearts” of their corporations and businesses! This panel will highlight the role/effect of corporations and small business entrepreneurs in meeting the needs of the communities in which they operate. Enterprises which have grown out of their commitment to rendering basic social needs to communities will be showcased. Additionally, the avenues through which major corporations as well as small businesses are aiding development in their host communities will also be discussed.
Meet the HUABC Sponsors: Corporate Presentations, Networking, and Career Fair – (3:30pm to 4:45pm)
A special corporate presentation opportunity for all HU ABC sponsors. Each sponsor will have a room/booth to speak to participants about corporate identity, strategy, business scope, achievements, human resource development or even just about their corporate brand. This session will serve as a Corporate Brands’ Parade of sort. Sponsors can also use the platform to connect with participants and may give out brochures or souvenirs after their presentations, as well as speak about career opportunities at their organizations. Career fair booths will be provided for this purpose. Following the presentations will be a general networking session for all conference participants for closer interaction with corporate representatives as well as other participants. Light cocktail refreshments will be provided during this period.
Closing Luncheon/Keynote Address-(5:00pm to 6:30pm)
6th Annual African Fashion Show- (7:30pm to 9:00 pm)
The highly successful annual fashion show hosted by the African Students’ Association will serve as a fitting welcome to conference participants who will be regaled with a showcase of exotic and eclectic African fashion styles designed by both renowned and upcoming African and contemporary fashion designers. Historically, this show has drawn an audience of over 500 people from across the United States.